Making My Lists and Checking Them Twice

My Christmas wishlist includes peace-the peace Jesus offers. This peace reflects the wholeness stemming from a close relationship with God.

Making My Lists and Checking Them Twice

December 3, 2020

Last night I finally completed the list my family repeatedly asked for: what do I want for Christmas? 

For someone who loves making lists~Christmas brings an added measure of joy. So many lists to create:

  • Addresses for Christmas Cards
  • Gift ideas for the people in my life
  • Stores where said gifts can be purchased
  • Dates and times of parties, recitals and celebrations
  • Hallmark Christmas Movies (I counted 40 new ones this year)
  • Groceries for holiday meals and treats
  • Arrivals and departures of visiting friends and family
  • Virtual meetings with those who live too far away to join us for the holidays
  • Playlists of Favorite Christmas Music 
  • Daily To-Dos for coordinating all the moving pieces

I continue to feel the impact of COVID-even as I complete my lists. Some of the lists this year are much shorter. Fewer get-togethers as we all stay home to stay safe. Fewer groceries to buy and treats to share. Other lists are longer. More online shopping. More virtual meetings and greetings.

But the list sitting heaviest on my heart is the same one I struggled to complete. What I truly want for Christmas cannot be purchased at a store. Nor can it be put in a box and tied with a bow. 

  • Life free from COVID threats and restrictions
  • A unified country
  • Harmony among people of diverse backgrounds

As I look over my list, I realize I want tranquility, life without tribulations-which the dictionary defines as peace.

At the birth of Jesus, the angelic host proclaimed:

“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” (Luke 2:14 NIV)

Through Jesus, we receive the gift of peace. But His peace differs from the one I envision. At the end of His ministry, Jesus explains this to His disciples:

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27 NIV)

The Greek word, eiréné, used in these Scriptures has roots in the Hebrew word, shalom. Although this word can mean freedom from conflict, it also conveys a sense of wholeness stemming from a close relationship with God. 

The birth, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ invites us to a restored relationship with God. Those of us who accept His invitation receive God’s favor as promised in Luke 2:14. 

But His favor doesn’t mean an absence of trouble. Even as Jesus promises the gift of peace, He is preparing to face the cross. Soon His disciples will also face hardships, but they will still have His peace. (John 16:33)

Our relationship with Jesus sustains us and gives us calming strength, in spite of our circumstances. As the Apostle Paul points out, if God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)

The world has no arsenal that can prevail against God. 

The Apostle Paul closes his thoughts in Romans 8 with these words:

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:37-39 NIV)

Through Jesus, we can conquer anything the world throws our way. His peace keeps my heart untroubled and free from fear.

In light of all this, I choose to amend my Christmas wishlist. I long for all to accept the peace we have through Jesus. 

This gift cannot be purchased in a store~it is free to all.
This gift cannot be put in a box and tied with a bow~but He personally prepares it for each one of us.

Wherever the road takes us next during this holiday season, may we remember, and hold on to, the gift of peace offered by the One who never leaves us. 

Making My Lists and Checking Them Twice

December 3, 2020

My Christmas wishlist includes peace-the peace Jesus offers. This peace reflects the wholeness stemming from a close relationship with God.

Last night I finally completed the list my family repeatedly asked for: what do I want for Christmas? 

For someone who loves making lists~Christmas brings an added measure of joy. So many lists to create:

  • Addresses for Christmas Cards
  • Gift ideas for the people in my life
  • Stores where said gifts can be purchased
  • Dates and times of parties, recitals and celebrations
  • Hallmark Christmas Movies (I counted 40 new ones this year)
  • Groceries for holiday meals and treats
  • Arrivals and departures of visiting friends and family
  • Virtual meetings with those who live too far away to join us for the holidays
  • Playlists of Favorite Christmas Music 
  • Daily To-Dos for coordinating all the moving pieces

I continue to feel the impact of COVID-even as I complete my lists. Some of the lists this year are much shorter. Fewer get-togethers as we all stay home to stay safe. Fewer groceries to buy and treats to share. Other lists are longer. More online shopping. More virtual meetings and greetings.

But the list sitting heaviest on my heart is the same one I struggled to complete. What I truly want for Christmas cannot be purchased at a store. Nor can it be put in a box and tied with a bow. 

  • Life free from COVID threats and restrictions
  • A unified country
  • Harmony among people of diverse backgrounds

As I look over my list, I realize I want tranquility, life without tribulations-which the dictionary defines as peace.

At the birth of Jesus, the angelic host proclaimed:

“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” (Luke 2:14 NIV)

Through Jesus, we receive the gift of peace. But His peace differs from the one I envision. At the end of His ministry, Jesus explains this to His disciples:

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27 NIV)

The Greek word, eiréné, used in these Scriptures has roots in the Hebrew word, shalom. Although this word can mean freedom from conflict, it also conveys a sense of wholeness stemming from a close relationship with God. 

The birth, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ invites us to a restored relationship with God. Those of us who accept His invitation receive God’s favor as promised in Luke 2:14. 

But His favor doesn’t mean an absence of trouble. Even as Jesus promises the gift of peace, He is preparing to face the cross. Soon His disciples will also face hardships, but they will still have His peace. (John 16:33)

Our relationship with Jesus sustains us and gives us calming strength, in spite of our circumstances. As the Apostle Paul points out, if God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)

The world has no arsenal that can prevail against God. 

The Apostle Paul closes his thoughts in Romans 8 with these words:

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:37-39 NIV)

Through Jesus, we can conquer anything the world throws our way. His peace keeps my heart untroubled and free from fear.

In light of all this, I choose to amend my Christmas wishlist. I long for all to accept the peace we have through Jesus. 

This gift cannot be purchased in a store~it is free to all.
This gift cannot be put in a box and tied with a bow~but He personally prepares it for each one of us.

Wherever the road takes us next during this holiday season, may we remember, and hold on to, the gift of peace offered by the One who never leaves us. 

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3 Comments

  1. Teresa on December 4, 2020 at 8:36 AM

    Very good Shirley with so many things that I can’t control it was nice to realize that God is in control of it all and I can have the faith that everything will work out through him because he loves me.

    • Shirley Desmond Jackson on December 5, 2020 at 7:13 AM

      Hi Teresa! I know what you mean. I am constantly reminding myself God is in control~ and being thankful I can never be separated from His love. In this I do find peace. Thanks for sharing. 💕

  2. Marcia on December 11, 2020 at 5:49 AM

    Thank you for the constant reminder that we need during these times… Peace only comes through Jesus and he should be in the forefront of our minds at this time of year and always. Love you so much Shirley 🙂

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